Your Gas Furnace, does it need cleaning?
By Charles Hopkins
Published 11/28/2007 | Home Improvement
Already we are into the fall season and the days and nights are getting
cooler. All summer long, for most homeowners, the thought of the
heating equipment was left behind and soon forgotten.
As soon as the weather changes and the temperature drops, we start
thinking about the machine that keeps us warm during the cold nights of
winter. No, we are not talking here about the coziness of a warm body
next to ours...
The gas or oil furnace down the basement of your home has spent
the summer waiting for the humans to re-activate it for the winter.
All of a sudden, we realize that maybe we should have it serviced
before it breaks down during the coldest night of the year. Then the
situation becomes a mad rush, an emergency. Every heating company out
there becomes suddenly inundated with calls for service or maintenance.
Yes, every manufacturer of heating equipment recommends that every
heating appliance be serviced once a year as a preventative measure.
It is a fact that a well oiled machine is less likely to break down
when you least expect it. Also, if performed regularly, the maintenance
will permit the service person to detect any abnormalities and bring
about corrective measures.
Now days, the building codes have improved and will require that
buildings be more energy efficient. This is good but on the other hand,
houses are more air tight and could create problems for heating
apparatus requiring air for combustion.
A good technician is trained to detect potential problems. Not
everyone suspects the huge quantity of air required to support proper
combustion of any type of appliance burning natural or propane gas as
well as oil or wood. Your utility company and your service contractor
are very familiar with these requirements and can help you determine if
your air supply is adequate. You do not want to suffer a lack of air
because the downside is the potential of producing carbon monoxide.
As a building owner, you need to be aware of these facts and be on the look out for anything that does not seem right.
Newer furnaces will not normally get that dirty in a year's time
but the regular yearly verification is a must if you want to avoid any
problem or surprise.
You may be asking yourself... What can I do myself to ensure proper operation of my equipment?
You should ensure to check your filter every month and if you find
it dirty, depending on the type you have, you may want to replace it if
it is of the throw away nature. Providing that your filter is washable,
you can remove it and wash it under clean warm water, let it dry and
re-insert it in the furnace. Your service company can provide you with
more specific instructions if you ask them.
This is important because it will not only provide you with
adequate circulation of air, it will also save you a bundle in energy
The next thing you can look after yourself, is the humidifier.
It is also an important ancillary piece of equipment. If well
maintained, it will provide your family healthier and more comfortable
You do not want the humidifier to become a breathing ground for
bacteria. It will also save you money on your heating bill. Air that is
humid feels more comfortable and warmer than dry air. The effect will
be that you will not require the thermostat to be set as high as
On this final note, be healthy, warm and save a lot.